NBA Thoughts 12/7/16


I have previously written in this space about my love of game stacks under the right circumstances: high Vegas totals, relatively close spreads, reliable production from players on both sides of the ball, and the ability to predict who will be on the court in the event of the outlier results (overtime). Tonight’s large slate features several games that qualify, so I will run through my favorite game stacks and the players to take from each.

Cavs @ Knicks

This one features a 214 total with the Cavaliers installed as 8.5 point favorites. That is a bit higher of a spread than I typically would target for a game stack, but with a big total and reliable production on both sides of the ball, it needs to be included tonight. The production from the Cavs’ side of the ball is certainly easy enough to pinpoint: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love should all thrive and be on the court if this game stays close into the fourth quarter or overtime, with LeBron and Kyrie being near locks to be on the court in such a scenario, while Love most likely will be. The Knicks are a bit trickier, as their two most reliable players, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, seem to have quite a bit of negative correlation this season as they do many of the same things on offense and both rely quite heavily on scoring the basketball. Still, in a game stack, I am not averse to using both guys, and this stack becomes very strong indeed if Derrick Rose is ruled out and we can include Brandon Jennings as a third member of the Knicks to add to an already powerful stack.

Blazers @ Bucks

This game features a sneaky high Vegas total of 216 and is expected to be a close game with the Bucks just 1.5 pt favorites. The Bucks have two players who are guaranteed to be on the court in the event of a close game and in overtime: Giannis Antetekounmpo and Jabari Parker, while in this matchup Matthew Dellevadova should also be out there given the need for his stout defense against the Blazers’ dynamic back court of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. John Henson is also usable as a third member of the Bucks’ stack, though his inclusion in a late game or overtime scenario is less assured (he could still easily meet value through 3.5 quarters, however). The Blazers side is thrown into a bit of a flux by the return of Aminu, so it is Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum who should be most heavily targeted. Mo Harkless has been playing well and will most likely be on the court for crunch time and is certainly cheap enough to include here, and Mason Plumlee sets up well in this game, though his minutes are always tough to predict and Aminu certainly hurts his stock to some extent.

Pacers @ Suns

Yet another game with a sky-high total and plenty of options on both sides of the ball. Vegas has this one pegged with a total of 218.5 and the traveling Pacers 4.5 point favorites. While this game still has appeal, it does have an issue with many of the Pacers being priced up due to increased fantasy output during Paul George’s and CJ Miles’ absences, both of whom have now returned. Still, in this phenomenal matchup, Jeff Teague, Paul George, and Myles Turner make for an intriguing three-man stack from the Pacers, while the Suns feature Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, both of whom have shown big upside at times over the course of this season.
Warriors @ Clippers

The game of the night in terms of Vegas total (225.5), expected competitiveness (Warriors -4), and reliable production, the difficulty in stacking this game is that the desirable pieces are so expensive. You must start with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin from the Clippers, who will both need to have tremendous games for the Clippers to keep pace with the high flying Warriors. From there, I’d avoid Steph Curry who may have a tough time with the defense of CP3, and instead choose 2 or 3 of Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. If this game does go to overtime, you should be stacking your cash at the end of it.

Good luck tonight! #letsgetit